by Luke Baumgarten & r & & r &
& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & P & lt;/span & igeon John's old crew, LA SYMPHONY, displays many of his better attributes. Repping positivity, and thus uninterested in the vast majority of hip-hop subject matter -- women, ice and whips as trophies and commodities -- LA Symphony somehow also manages to avoid the pitfalls of the other side. Earnest without being preachy (though they have Christ-rap ties) and multicultural without being lame (the white boy in the Che Guevara shirt can spit a verse), the crew resists being pulled to the poles and, better yet, find fecundity in centrism without resorting to clich & eacute;s or gimmickry.
It's like, imagine what would happen if you took Jurassic 5, got rid of the quarter-century-old production techniques, the turntablist-as-bandleader, and somehow got them to do something other than shadowbox about how old-school they are. J5 illustrates the problem of cutting your own path: It can limit your options. The musicians of LA Symphony, so far, have blazed their own trails without confining themselves.
LA Symphony at the Spread on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at 9 pm. Tickets: $7. Call 456-4515.
& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & T & lt;/span & here's a lot of folk happening in Portland at the moment. Lots of it. And it often divides, as you might expect, along two lines: on one side, the pluck-and-strummers (a bit of guitar and perhaps some African percussion, if they're feeling naughty), and on the other, the revisionists (melding folk with electric instruments, rock, prog, whatever tells the story). While the obvious touchstone of the latter group is the Decemberists, and to a lesser extent Norfolk & amp; Western, CORRINA REPP is there too, providing a bridge between the two worlds.
While much of her work carries classic folk's hushed verve, tracks like "Finally" dabble with hip-hop elements and electronic production. (We're sure we caught a break beat in there....) They aren't as front-and-center as on Bright Eye's experiment, Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, but neither do Repp's rhythms grate like those did, instead feeling better integrated and less tacked-on.
Corrina Repp with Norfolk & amp; Western at Whitworth's HUB on Friday, Nov. 10, at 9 pm. Tickets: $5; free, Whitworth students. Call 777-4551.
& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & W & lt;/span & hoever told you THE LASHES sound like the Strokes wasn't being honest with you. They also sound like Hot Hot Heat. That's impressive, considering HHH are the most enthusiastic no-wavers we can think of (a serious feat) while the Strokes' whole game plan was (still is, we assume) looking steadfastly unimpressed by anything. (Example; Julian Casablancas saying, with every heavy-eye-lidded sweep of the room, "My dad's rich, you know.")
The Lashes represent, if not the whole spectrum, then at least the poles of the dirty, repetitious, proto-punk resurgence that happened near about the Ought Two and quickly gave way a year or three after.
Add to that a bit of diminished promise (after signing to major label Columbia, hitting CMJ this time last year, getting written up in Entertainment Weekly, and dropping an album in February, they're back playing 150-capacity bars) and you've got yourself the True Hollywood Story of an entire musical sub-genre.
The Lashes with Thee Emergency, Yokohama Hooks and Tokio Weigh Station at the Spread on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 9 pm. Tickets: $7. Call 456-4515.